||Issue No. 356||21 December 2006|
Interview: The Terminator
Industrial: Vive La Resistance
Unions: Breaking News
History: Seven Deadly Sins
Economics: Back to the Future
Politics: Organising and Organisations
International: Web Retrospective
Review: Shock Therapy
All the Best
They Call Me Bruce
There once was a time Monty Python was considered satire, but listen to the Bruce skit today and you could be forgiven for thinking it's a recording of the cabinet room.
One of the jokes is that everyone in Australia is called Bruce. The conversation goes thus:
"Oh, Hello Bruce!"
"How are you, Bruce?"
"A bit crook, Bruce."
"He's not 'ere, Bruce."
The Bruces, who comprise the philosophy department of the University of Woolloomooloo, are introduced to the new political science lecturer.
Michael, a "pommy bastard", will be teaching "Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbes, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett and Benaud".
"Mind if we call you Bruce to keep it clear?" says one of the Bruces.
One can imagine this is how Howard and his cronies discuss multicultural policy, if they discuss it at all.
Similarly, Howard's values test might go along the lines of the Bruces' rules for the faculty:
"Rule one: no poofters.
"Rule two: no member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abos in any way at all - if there's anybody watching.
"Rule three: no poofters.
"Rule four: now this term, I don't want to catch anybody not drinking.
"Rule five: no poofters."
You get the point.
Many make out that, Howard longs for a time when Australia was a simpler place - when blokes were blokes and sheilas were sheilas, and you'd stand up to God Save the Queen at the pictures before the feature.
The Toolshed disagrees. It would be too simplistic to think Howard actually believes in this nonsense.
Howard is in fact a post-modern artist and Australia is his canvas.
When he's finally done, I'm sure the critics will rave about his ability to combine elements of kitsch Australiana with a 19th century workplace.
We can see the reviews now:
"The concept of mateship, evoking ideas of community and togetherness is ambitiously ostentatious, with the bold khaki brushstrokes taking up much of the foreground.
"Yet this mono-colour tribute to Pro Hart acts as a diversion to what is happening in the background, which owes much to the harsh reality of Victorian England, or perhaps the inside of a Wal-Mart store."
Think about the way Howard approaches truth - the never, ever GST, the interest rate promise, children overboard and the AWB scandal (oh sorry, one of his mates cleared him of that one).
Only a dyed-in-the-wool post-modernist could take such a relative approach to the truth.
Similarly, his education policy, that schools should teach facts instead of mushy post-modernism is so rich with irony that it is straight from a post-modernists pallet.
And surely the most poignant example of his passion for post-modernism is simultaneously claiming to be the workers best friend while taking away their penalty rates, holiday rates, overtime, public holidays, weekends, minimum award rates, two weeks worth of holidays for an undefined "trade in", job security etc etc.
We can only hope the Pro Hart of politics is nearly finito.
We just feel sorry for the cleaning woman.
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